Children’s authors and books will, as always, be well represented at this year’s Indies Choice Book Awards and E.B. White Read-Aloud Awards ceremony, which takes place during today’s Celebration of Bookselling luncheon. The Indies Choice Awards honor those authors and illustrators whose works have been chosen by members of the American Booksellers Association as their hand-selling favorites from the past year.
Being lauded alongside the winners for adult books—Kate Atkinson for Life After Life (fiction); Daniel James Brown for The Boys in the Boat (nonfiction); and Andrew Marra for A Constellation of Vital Phenomena (debut book)—is Rainbow Rowell, whose YA novel, Eleanor & Park (St. Martin’s Griffin), was named the Indies Choice YA Novel of the Year for its portrayal of two teens whose relationship crosses racial boundaries.
Rowell, who flew in from Omaha to attend today’s luncheon, says she is “thrilled” to be recognized by indie booksellers. “I’ve been able to visit dozens of independent bookstores since Eleanor & Park came out, and the best part is always hanging out with stores’ owners and staff,” she says. “They’re such passionate, smart people—it’s an honor to know they loved my book.”
The E.B. White Read-Aloud Awards are given to authors whose children’s books independent booksellers deem to be their favorite read-aloud titles to hand-sell. The ABA’s announcement of these awards praises each winning title for reflecting “the playful, well-paced language, the engaging themes, and the universal appeal embodied by E.B. White’s collection of beloved books.”
Receiving the E.B White Read-Aloud Award in the picture book category is Drew Daywalt’s The Day the Crayons Quit (Philomel), illustrated by Oliver Jeffers. Daywalt, who traveled from his Los Angeles hometown for today’s ceremony, says that winning the award is one of the highlights of his career, “not just because E.B. White was a rock star to me, but also because it means booksellers out there loved reading the book so much, and laughed so hard, that it made it easy for them to hand it to customers and say, ‘You should read this. It’s funny.’ And the lyricism of the story read aloud is nothing without the accompanying sound of laughter that it evokes in children and adults.”
Newbery-winning Flora & Ulysses (Candlewick) by Kate DiCamillo, national ambassador for young people’s literature, and illustrated by K.G. Campbell, won the E.B. White Award in the middle-grade category. Like Daywalt, Minneapolis resident DiCamillo is humbled to receive an award associated with White, calling him her hero and declaring, “To think that his name will appear on something that I wrote, and to think that independent booksellers are the ones who put his name there, matters to me more than I can say.”
Also honored are Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle (Henry Holt); Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd (HarperCollins); and Stellaluna by Janell Cannon (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), which were all newly inducted into the ABA’s Picture Book Hall of Fame.